(Please note this post contains affiliate links.)
If you check out my Etsy Shop today, you will see I have only 35 sales. I am not an Etsy expert and I have owned a shop for less than a year. I try to keep it stocked, but in the midst of the blessings of full time motherhood, that’s just not feasible right now.
I joined Instagram in August of 2015 where I found a fun community of other moms selling their hand made items. I learned quickly that there is an industry standard in the realm of packaging up an Etsy order. And, I was not aware of this picture perfect standard the day I opened my Etsy shop.
Packaging up my Etsy orders was my least favorite job at the start of my small business. I had to go to the post office or Target and buy an oversized envelope to fit a quilted pillow cover. I found some cute ribbon leftover from my wedding to nicely tie up the pillow cover I had recently sold. I pulled out a box of old thank you notes to send a note to my buyer. I didn’t have a business card. Nothing coordinated or matched. I wrote the address as nicely as I could on the outside of the envelope. Then I loaded two small boys up and headed to the post office to mail my package.
If you know me well at all, you know running errands is not my thing. I don’t enjoy carting children around and buckling and unbuckling car seats just hoping they’ll wait like perfect angels in the never ending line at the post office.
Packing up my order took two errands and an hour of scrounging around the house for cute crafty items.
Even without an immense amount of orders going out, I learned I needed to streamline a process and stock a few supplies. Otherwise, packaging up a single order was going to be an entire day’s process when it involves three little ones.
1. First off, learn to print your shipping labels off using Etsy’s shipping options at home. (It’s MUCH easier walking your package out to your mail box for the mail man to pick up than running an errand to the post office.) You need to have a digital kitchen scale, printable labels, and a printer. All three of these are an up front investment. If you know you are going to stick with the Etsy business for a while, they are well worth it!
2. You also need a few packaging supplies. I recommend keeping your packaging supplies as consistent as possible. For example, I sell pillow covers. If I use the same size envelope every time, I can save those dimensions in my Etsy shop. This makes creating shipping labels go fast. Also consider branding when buying your supplies. I purchased some teal mailers for my shop. I felt the color fit my brand well.
3. Your package should look fun and cute and memorable. Yes, this may be necessary solely to keep up with industry standard, but also think about your customer receiving your package. Think of them opening their mail box and finding the cutest little package wrapped up so intentionally and carefully. Along with my teal / turquoise mailers mentioned above, I took advantage of a few other Etsy owners and used their products to decorate the outside of my package.
TaggedWithLove has adorable stickers. LemonyStitch has an amazing assortment of fabric washi. RedLampCreative has fun fabric stickers. All of these are great shop options for picking up something small for the outside of your packages.
4. Including an extra little treat is not a must but highly recommended. What kind of extra treat? This could be an extra little something you make and include in each of your packages. Or, this little extra could be something another great maker made. Think small. I’ve included decorative clothespins from Hobby Lobby. I’ve included a little pinwheel clip from SimpleOctober (see picture above). I’ve included a crocheted hearts from CheerfulCupcake. Every time I receive an order from SewStitchingHappy, she sends along two or three additional fabric squares. (I’m not sure if the picture of all the fabric squares below is an indication of Cassie’s generosity or an indication of how much fabric I’ve bought from her.)
5. Go the extra mile and consider having your business cards or thank you notes professionally printed. I originally printed my notes on my printer at home. Then I cut them at home with my fifteen year old scrapbook blade. It wasn’t until I received the ‘thank you’ note cards in the picture below from PenAndPaint that I realized I should invest the money in having my notes professionally printed and professionally cut to size. They looked so nice!
6. Take a step above the standard of the culture of today and provide exceptional customer service. This does not mean bending over backward for your customer. This means treating them as someone special. Respond to their emails and questions in a timely manner. Be honest with them about your product. Give them adequate information so they are clear about the quality and handicraft they will be receiving. Tell them thank you.
For those of you toying with the idea of opening up your shop, I hope this starts you off on a better route than me when it comes to packaging my products. Make your shipping process fun. Let it be a reflection of you and make it memorable!